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"Lord Salisbury" redirects here. For other holders of the title, see Marquess of Salisbury.
The Most Honourable
 The Marquess of Salisbury 
KG GCVO PC


In office
25 June 1895 – 11 July 1902
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
Preceded by The Earl of Rosebery
Succeeded by Arthur Balfour
In office
25 July 1886 – 11 August 1892
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by William Ewart Gladstone
Succeeded by William Ewart Gladstone
In office
23 June 1885 – 28 January 1886
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by William Ewart Gladstone
Succeeded by William Ewart Gladstone

In office
2 April 1878 – 28 April 1880
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Beaconsfield
Preceded by The Earl of Derby
Succeeded by The Earl Granville
In office
24 June 1885 – 6 February 1886
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by The Earl Granville
Succeeded by The Earl of Rosebery
In office
14 January 1887 – 11 August 1892
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by The Earl of Iddesleigh
Succeeded by The Earl of Rosebery
In office
29 June 1895 – 12 November 1900
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by The Earl of Kimberley
Succeeded by The Marquess of Lansdowne

Born 3 February 1830(1830-02-03)
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Died 22 August 1903 (aged 73)
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Georgina Alderson
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford, United Kingdom
Religion Anglican
Signature

Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC (3 February 1830 – 22 August 1903), known as Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and as Viscount Cranborne from 1865 until 1868, was a British statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years. He was the first British Prime Minister of the 20th century and the last Prime Minister to head his full administration from the House of Lords.

Contents

Life

Lord Robert Cecil was the second son of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury. After an unhappy childhood, in which he was sent to Eton College, he went up to Christ Church, Oxford, and on taking his degree was elected a Fellow of All Souls College. He entered the House of Commons as a Conservative in 1853, as MP for Stamford in Lincolnshire. He retained this seat until entering the peerage.

In 1866 Lord Robert, now Viscount Cranborne after the death of his older brother, Salisbury entered the third government of Lord Derby as Secretary of State for India. He resigned the next year over the Reform Bill, which he opposed.

In 1868, on the death of his father, he inherited the Marquessate of Salisbury, thereby becoming a member of the House of Lords. From 1868 and 1871, he was chairman of the Great Eastern Railway, which was then experiencing losses. During his tenure, the company was taken out of chancery, and paid out a small dividend on its ordinary shares.

He returned to government in 1874, serving once again as India Secretary in the government of Benjamin Disraeli. Salisbury gradually developed a good relationship with Disraeli, whom he had previously disliked and distrusted. In 1878, Salisbury succeeded Lord Derby (son of the former Prime Minister) as Foreign Secretary in time to help lead Britain to "peace with honour" at the Congress of Berlin. For this he was rewarded with the Order of the Garter.

Following Disraeli's death in 1881, the Conservatives entered a period of turmoil. Salisbury became the leader of the Conservative members of the House of Lords, though the overall leadership of the party was not formally allocated. So he struggled with the Commons leader Sir Stafford Northcote, a struggle in which Salisbury eventually emerged as the leading figure. He became Prime Minister of a minority administration from 1885 to 1886. Although unable to accomplish much due to his lack of a parliamentary majority, the split of the Liberals over Irish Home Rule in 1886 enabled him to return to power with a majority, and, excepting a Liberal minority government (1892–1895), to serve as Prime Minister from 1886 to 1902.

In 1889 Salisbury set up the London County Council and then in 1890 allowed it to build houses. However he came to regret this, saying in November 1894 that the LCC, "is the place where collectivist and socialistic experiments are tried. It is the place where a new revolutionary spirit finds its instruments and collects its arms".[1]

Also in 1889 Salisbury's Government passed the Naval Defence Act 1889 which facilitated the spending of an extra £20 million on the Royal Navy over the following four years. This was the biggest ever expansion of the navy in peacetime: ten new battleships, thirty-eight new cruisers, eighteen new torpedo boats and four new fast gunboats. Traditionally (since the Battle of Trafalgar) Britain had possessed a navy one-third larger than their nearest naval rival but now the Royal Navy was set to the Two-Power Standard; that it would be maintained "to a standard of strength equivalent to that of the combined forces of the next two biggest navies in the world".[2] This was aimed at France and Russia.

Salisbury's expertise was in foreign affairs. For most of his time as Prime Minister he served not as First Lord of the Treasury, the traditional position held by the Prime Minister, but as Foreign Secretary. In that capacity, he managed Britain's foreign affairs, famously pursuing a policy of "Splendid Isolation". Among the important events of his premierships was the Partition of Africa, culminating in the Fashoda Crisis and the Second Boer War. At home he sought to "fight Home Rule with kindness" by launching a land reform programme which helped hundreds of thousands of Irish peasants gain land ownership.

On 11 July 1902, in failing health and broken hearted over the death of his wife, Salisbury resigned. He was succeeded by his nephew, Arthur James Balfour. Salisbury was offered a dukedom by Queen Victoria in 1886 and 1892, but declined both offers, citing the prohibitive cost of the lifestyle dukes were expected to maintain.

When Salisbury died his estate was probated at 310,336 pounds sterling. In 1900 Salisbury was worth £6.56 million, about £374 million in 2005.

Legacy

Salisbury is seen as an icon of traditional, aristocratic conservatism. The academic quarterly Salisbury Review was named in his honour upon its founding in 1982.

Clement Attlee (Labour Party Prime Minister, 1945-1951) believed Salisbury to be the best Prime Minister of his lifetime.[3]

After the Bering Sea Arbitration, Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Sparrow David Thompson said of Lord Salisbury's acceptance of the Arbitration Treaty that it was "one of the worst acts of what I regard as a very stupid and worthless life."[4]

In 1886, Salisbury remarked that the British public would not accept a "black man", such as the Indian Dadabhai Naoroji as an MP.

The British phrase 'Bob's your uncle' is thought to have derived from Robert Cecil's appointment of his nephew, Arthur Balfour, as Minister for Ireland .

Family

Lord Salisbury was the second son of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury, a minor Conservative politician. In 1857, he defied his father and married Georgina Alderson. She was the daughter of Sir Edward Alderson, a moderately notable jurist and so of much lower social standing than the Cecils. The marriage proved a happy one. Robert and Georgina had eight children, all but one of whom survived infancy.

  • Lady Beatrix Cecil († 27 April 1950), married the 2nd Earl of Selborne
  • Lady Gwendolen Cecil († 28 September 1945), author, and biographer of her father; she never married.
  • Lady Fanny Cecil († 24 April 1867), died as an infant
  • James, Viscount Cranborne (23 October 1861–4 April 1947), later 4th Marquess of Salisbury
  • Lord William Cecil (9 March 1863–23 June 1936)
  • Lord Robert Cecil (14 September 1864–24 November 1958), later 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood
  • Lord Edward Cecil (12 July 1867–13 December 1918)
  • Lord Hugh Cecil (14 October 1869–10 December 1956), later 1st Baron Quickswood
Lord Salisbury

Beliefs

Salisbury believed the role of government was to maintain and extend individual freedom, and to avoid interfering in social and economic affairs. He also advocated self help: 'No men ever rise to any permanent improvement in their condition of body or of mind except by relying upon their own personal efforts'.

Lord Salisbury's First Government, July 1885–February 1886

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Changes

Lord Salisbury's Second Government, August 1886–August 1892

Cabinet after the reorganisation of January 1887

Further Changes

  • February 1888 – Sir Michael Hicks Beach succeeds Lord Stanley of Preston as President of the Board of Trade
  • 1889 – Henry Chaplin enters the Cabinet as President of the Board of Agriculture.
  • October 1891 – Arthur James Balfour succeeds William Henry Smith (deceased) as First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Commons. William Lawies Jackson succeeds him as Irish Secretary.

Lord Salisbury's Third Government, June 1895–July 1902

Changes

November 1900 – Complete reorganisation of the ministry:

Notes

  1. ^ Andrew Roberts, Salisbury: Victorian Titan (Phoenix, 2000), p. 501.
  2. ^ Ibid, p. 540.
  3. ^ Ibid, p. 836.
  4. ^ Public Archives of Canada, Gowan Papers, M-1900, Thompson to Gowan, 20 Sept. 1893

Further reading

  • A. L. Kennedy, Salisbury 1830-1903: Portrait of a Statesman (1953)
  • Andrew Roberts Salisbury: Victorian Titan (1999)

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Ripon
Secretary of State for India
1866 – 1867
Succeeded by
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
Preceded by
The Duke of Argyll
Secretary of State for India
1874 – 1878
Succeeded by
The Viscount Cranbrook
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
Foreign Secretary
1878 – 1880
Succeeded by
The Earl Granville
Preceded by
The Earl of Beaconsfield
Leader of the Opposition
1881 – 1885
Succeeded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
23 June 1885 – 28 January 1886
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Foreign Secretary
1885 – 1886
Succeeded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Leader of the House of Lords
1885 – 1886
Succeeded by
The Earl Granville
Preceded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Leader of the Opposition
1886
Succeeded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
25 July 1886 – 11 August 1892
First Lord of the Treasury
1886 – 1887
Succeeded by
W.H. Smith
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Leader of the House of Lords
1886 – 1892
Succeeded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Preceded by
The Earl of Iddesleigh
Foreign Secretary
1887 – 1892
Succeeded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Leader of the Opposition
1892 – 1895
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
25 June 1895 – 11 July 1902
Succeeded by
Arthur Balfour
Preceded by
The Earl of Kimberley
Foreign Secretary
1895 – 1900
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Leader of the House of Lords
1895 – 1902
Succeeded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Preceded by
The Viscount Cross
Lord Privy Seal
1900 – 1902
Succeeded by
Arthur Balfour
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Herries
Frederic Thesiger
Member of Parliament for Stamford
1853 – 1868
With: Frederic Thesiger 1853–1858
John Inglis 1858
Sir Stafford Northcote 1858–1866
Sir John Dalrymple Hay, Bt 1866–1868
Succeeded by
Sir John Dalrymple Hay, Bt
Viscount Ingestre
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Beaconsfield
Conservative Leader in the Lords
1881 – 1902
Succeeded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Leader of the British Conservative Party
1881 – 1902
with Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt (1881–1885)
Succeeded by
Arthur Balfour
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Derby
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
1869 – 1903
Succeeded by
The Viscount Goschen
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
1895 – 1903
Succeeded by
The Lord Curzon of Kedleston
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Gascoyne-Cecil
Marquess of Salisbury
1868 – 1903
Succeeded by
James Gascoyne-Cecil

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

By a free country I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbours, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like. That is not my notion of freedom.
A gram of experience is worth a ton of theory.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (3 February 183022 August 1903) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister.

Sourced

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts.
  • A gram of experience is worth a ton of theory.
    • Saturday Review (1859)
  • English policy is to float lazily downstream, occasionally putting out a diplomatic boat-hook to avoid collisions.
  • No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
  • As I have said, there are two points or two characteristics of the Radical programme which it is your special duty to resist. One concerns the freedom of individuals. After all, the great characteristic of this country is that it is a free country, and by a free country I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbours, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like. That is not my notion of freedom.
    • Speech to the third annual banquet of the Kingston and District Working Men's Conservative Association (13 June, 1883).
    • 'The Marquis Of Salisbury At Kingston', The Times (14 June, 1883), p. 7.
  • On general grounds I object to Parliament trying to regulate private morality in matters which only affects the person who commits the offence.
    • Letter to Sir Henry Peek (1888)
  • Parliament is a potent engine, and its enactments must always do something, but they very seldom do what the originators of these enactments meant.
    • Statement to the Associated Chambers of Commerce (March 1891)
  • [Most legislation] will have the effect of surrounding the industry which it touches with precautions and investigations, inspections and regulations, in which it will be slowly enveloped and stifled.
    • Statement to the Associated Chambers of Commerce (March 1891)
  • There is no danger which we have to contend with which is so serious as an exaggeration of the power, the useful power, of the interference of the State. It is not that the State may not or ought not to interfere when it can do so with advantage, but that the occasions on which it can so interfere are so lamentably few and the difficulties that lie in its way are so great. But I think that some of us are in danger of an opposite error. What we have to struggle against is the unnecessary interference of the State, and still more when that interference involves any injustice to any people, especially to any minority. All those who defend freedom are bound as their first duty to be the champions of minorities, and the danger of allowing the majority, which holds the power of the State, to interfere at its will is that the interests of the minority will be disregarded and crushed out under the omnipotent force of a popular vote. But that fear ought not to lead us to carry our doctrine further than is just. I have heard it stated — and I confess with some surprise — as an article of Conservative opinion that paternal Government — that is to say, the use of the machinery of Government for the benefit of the people — is a thing in itself detestable and wicked. I am unable to subscribe to that doctrine, either politically or historically. I dot believe it to have been a doctrine of the Conservative party at any time. On the contrary, if you look back, even to the earlier years of the present century, you will find the opposite state of things; you will find the Conservative party struggling to confer benefits — perhaps ignorantly and unwisely, but still sincerely — through the instrumentality of the State, and resisted by a severe doctrinaire resistance from the professors of Liberal opinions. When I am told that it is an essential part of Conservative opinion to resist any such benevolent action on the part of the State, I should expect Bentham to turn in his grave; it was he who first taught the doctrine that the State should never interfere, and any one less like a Conservative than Bentham it would be impossible to conceive... The Conservative party has always leaned — perhaps unduly leaned — to the use of the State, as far as it can properly be used, for the improvement of the physical, moral, and intellectual condition of our people, and I hope that that mission the Conservative party will never renounce, or allow any extravagance on the other side to frighten them from their just assertion of what has always been its true and inherent principles.
    • Speech to the United Club (15 July, 1891), published in "Lord Salisbury On Home Politics" in The Times (16 July 1891), p. 10
  • We must learn this rule, which is true alike of rich and poor — that no man and no class of men ever rise to any permanent improvement in their condition of body or of mind except by relying upon their own personal efforts. The wealth with which the rich man is surrounded is constantly tempting him to forget the truth, ad you see in family after family men degenerating from the position of their fathers because they live sluggishly and enjoy what has been placed before them without appealing to their own exertions. The poor man, especially in these days, may have a similar temptation offered to him by legislation, but this same inexorable rule will work. The only true lasting benefit which the statesman can give to the poor man is so to shape matters that the greatest possible opportunity for the exercise of his own moral and intellectual qualities shall be offered to him by the law; and therefore it is that in my opinion nothing that we can do this year, and nothing that we did before, will equal in the benefit that it will confer upon the physical condition, and with the physical will follow the moral too, of the labouring classes in the rural districts, that measure for free education which we passed last year. It will have the effect of bringing education home to many a family which hitherto has not been able to enjoy it, and in that way, by developing the faculties which nature has given to them, it will be a far surer and a far more valuable aid to extricate them from any of the sufferings or hardships to which they may be exposed than the most lavish gifts of mere sustenance that the State could offer.
    • Speech to Devonshire Conservatives (January 1892), as quoted in The Marquis of Salisbury (1892), by James J. Ellis, p. 185
    • Variant: The only true lasting benefit which the statesman can give to the poor man is so to shape matters that the greatest possible liberty for the exercise of his own moral and intellectual qualities should be offered to him by law.
      • As quoted in Salisbury — Victorian Titan (1999) by Andrew Roberts
  • If I were asked to define Conservative policy, I should say that it was the upholding of confidence.
    • Quoted in Salisbury — Victorian Titan (1999) by Andrew Roberts

Misattributed

  • Solitude shows us what should be; society shows us what we are.
    • Richard Cecil, as quoted in Remains of Mr. Cecil (1836) edited by Josiah Pratt, p. 59
  • It is one of the misfortunes of our political system that parties are formed more with reference to controversies that are gone by than to the controversies which these parties have actually to decide.
    • Statement of an uncredited reviewer in The Quarterly Review [London] (January 1866), p. 277

External links


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